The School Board voted Monday night to open Murphy Junior High School in Plainfield for the 2012-13 school year.
Board members Laurie Pasteris, Alison Swanson and Bill Walsh voted no after hearing from parents, students and members of the district’s boundary committee in about an hour of public comment.
Lisa Udy, a parent and boundary committee member, approached the board early in the hour, saying that if the district has money to spend on optional programs such as industrial arts at the junior highs and Dual Language, it should have the money to ease overcrowding. She said there are cuts that could be made elsewhere.
“The Dual Language program is a luxury program and could be put on hold,” Udy said.
Where hypothetical cuts could be made throughout the district to help fund the approximate $800,000 to open Murphy revealed a division among boundary committee members when Luis Perez also spoke during public comment.
“Dual Language is a value-added program for the long-term success of the district,” he said. “… This is the No. 1 way to bring our students to English proficiency.”
At least one other boundary committee member also did not agree with the majority of his fellow members regarding the opening of Murphy. Patrick Mackey asked the board to delay the opening until some of the empty homes in the community are sold and a need is more clear.
“There are a lot questions that are yet to be answered that another year would give us (the opportunity to study,)” he said.
, the boundary committee called on the board for a vote Monday night. Former school board and committee member John Graff read the letter aloud to the board.
Keeping Murphy closed would have put Bednarcik Junior High at 150 students over its capacity next year with projected at slightly over its capacity, Graff said.
Walsh, Pasteris, and Swanson asked several questions of Assistant Superintendent Todd Colvin regarding specific boundary decisions surrounding the opening of Murphy. Board member Mike Scaramuzzi said it was important for the board to allow the committee to make its boundary recommendations and to focus solely Monday night on whether to open Murphy.
The boundary committee will meet again Tuesday night and should begin the work redrawing the school boundaries with a goal of presenting options to the board in February. An opened Murphy will be included in those new boundaries.